Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 26, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: All


9 3

A K 8 5 2

Q J 9 8 4



J 8 4

7 6

K 10 6

K Q 6 3 2



Q J 10 4 3

7 3 2

10 9 8 7


A K Q 10 7 6 2


A 5

J 5 4


South West North East
    1 Pass
4 NT Pass 5* Pass
5 NT Pass 6 Pass
7 All Pass    
*Zero or three key-cards, counting the trump king as an ace

Opening Lead: K

“A man must be a little mad if he does not want to be even more stupid.”

— Michel de Montaigne

On this deal from the first session of last year’s Blue Ribbon Pairs, South, with eight tricks in his hand facing an opening bid, decided to eschew a scientific approach. It is better to play the direct four-no-trump response as asking for straight aces, but North and South were at least on the same wavelength. After discovering that his partner held the relevant key-cards, South took a shot at seven spades.

At first things were going smoothly, but then came a hitch. Nikolay Demirev (West) rejected the traditional (but perhaps overrated) lead of a trump in favor of the club king. That appears to be a catastrophic decision when you look at all four hands, as declarer can now ruff two clubs in dummy.

South took trick one with dummy’s ace, cashed the top hearts, discarding a diamond, crossed to the diamond ace and ruffed a club. He now played the diamond queen, ruffing it in hand, and ruffed his last club.

He only had to get back to hand to draw trumps to land his ambitious contract, and we can see that a diamond ruff is the way to do it. However, there was a problem, because on the second round of diamonds West had followed with the king!

That brilliant falsecard induced declarer to return to hand by ruffing a heart, which West was able to overruff. How much more satisfying than to lead a trump and defeat the contract in more pedestrian fashion.


South Holds:

J 8 4
7 6
K 10 6
K Q 6 3 2


South West North East
  1 1 Pass
1 NT Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: Your no-trump response suggested 8-12 points, so you are at the lower end of your range. But your trump support is outstanding. Not only might you make game, but you may not have much defense against a spade or diamond contract. I would raise to three clubs now, which does not promise the earth. (The “impossible” bid of two spades, or a cuebid of two hearts, would show a stronger hand.)


For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2010. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact